Grilled cheese panino

October 27, 2010

Mozzarella Grilled Cheese

Remember the days of Food Network actually having shows with cooking? Ahhh, barely. Thinking of that is almost as nostalgic as the show this recipe came from. Tyler Florence had decided to create an ultimate rainy day menu, which consisted of chicken soup, grilled cheese, and brownies. All with a gourmet twist of course.

With our rainy weekend and cooler days, I decided to make a grilled cheese panino, layering fresh mozzarella, pesto, and tomatoes on Acme’s Herb Slab, then weighting it down to grill until the cheese was nice and oozy.

Grilled Cheese Panino
Adapted from Tyler Florence’s Mozzarella Grilled Cheese
Serves 6 to 8

1 loaf Acme Bread Herb Slab, slice in half lengthwise
18 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch slices
6 roma tomatoes, cut into thick slices (see variation below)
1 cup fresh basil pesto, recipe follows
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

Basil pesto
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano
2 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Toast pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Combine pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined but still rough-textured. If you have a panini press, turn it on to warm up; otherwise, set a grill pan or skillet over medium heat. Assemble sandwich by smearing insides of bread slices with pesto (both sides). Arrange a layer of sliced tomato and season with a few turns of fresh pepper. Layer the mozzarella slices over the top and then place another piece of bread on top to make the sandwich. Spritz the skillet’s surface with olive oil and place sandwiches on the hot skillet or panini press. If using a skillet, place another heavy skillet over the top to form a “press”. Turn after 2 to 3 minutes and replace weight. The sandwich is ready when golden brown and mozzarella has melted around the edges.

Remove from the press, and slice into 6 or 8 pieces.

Variation: For a different flavor, try oven-roasting your tomatoes first. To do so, slice and place onto a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with a bit of salt, pepper, and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Top with fresh thyme, and bake at 450 degrees for about 10 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes have dried a bit. You might want to up the quantity of tomatoes in the sandwich a bit.

I made these a while back for a game night, and they were a hit. I doubled the recipe, but the sandwiches were still gone in a flash.

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2 Responses to “Grilled cheese panino”

  1. OMG this looks good. I bet Google employees can get it in their cafeteria! 🙁

  2. It is really good. The pesto recipe is also pretty awesome. I put a dollop of that in my baked eggs the other morning and it was delicious!